More Sentence Fragments
A complete sentence expresses a full and independent thought, and contains both a subject and a verb. A fragment is an expression that lacks either a subject or a verb, or that begins with a word like because, when, if, since, while, although) or who or which. These words create the need for another part of the sentence.
Many fragments are missing a subject, verb, or part of a verb. Here are a few examples:
- Had trouble starting the car. This is missing a subject, but could be corrected as Jose had trouble starting the car.
- Henry, the dog with the black patch over one eye. This is missing a verb, but could be corrected as Henry, the dog with the black patch over one eye, looked out the window.
- Rain falling all day. This is missing part of a verb. It could be corrected as Rain was falling all day.
- My brother, who is an expert skier. This is missing a verb. It could be corrected as My brother, who is an expert skier, arrived.
One trick for identifying sentence fragments is to insert the phrase "It is true that..." at the beginning, and see if it makes sense. As an example, consider the following: Because it is hot today. Is this a complete sentence? If you instead express it as It is true that because it is hot today, it is clear that this is a fragment.
The only real exception to the “It is true that” test is a command. For example: Sit down. This is a complete sentence, despite not making sense as It is true that sit down. Remember that a command has an unstated subject (often you).